Qatar 787 grounded for same problem as United Dreamliner

Qatar Airways Ltd. said a 787 jet just handed over by Boeing Co. developed a problem similar to one that forced a United Airlines aircraft to make an emergency landing with a faulty generator.

Qatar Air’s third 787 exhibited the failure on its delivery flight from the U.S., Akbar Al Baker, the Gulf carrier’s chief executive officer, said Thursday at London’s Heathrow airport. The plane has been grounded since Dec. 9 and may remain so for at least four days while Boeing sends spares and a recovery team.

“These problems are unacceptable because this aircraft has been flying for the last 14 months,” Al Baker said in an interview. “They have to get their act together very fast because we at Qatar Airways will not accept any more defects.”

A United 787 was forced to land on Dec. 4 following the failure of one of six generators. The composite-plastic model saves on fuel by not diverting air from the engines for power, instead using five times as much electricity as older jets.

“Two aircraft having the same problem — the same major problem — so quickly is a cause of concern,” Al Baker said, adding that Doha-based Qatar Air will ask Boeing to cover its losses. “Definitely we will demand compensation. We are not buying airplanes from them to put in a museum.”

Calls to spokespeople for Chicago-based Boeing in London weren’t immediately returned.

Besides problems with the generator, Boeing’s 787 has experienced issues with its General Electric GEnx engines as well. Qatar previously refused to take delivery of its 787s until the engine problem was solved. The Federal Aviation Administration has instructed airlines that operate 787s powered by GE engines to inspect those engines frequently. The FAA also recently called for inspections of 787 fuel lines after parts were found to have been improperly installed.

No Excuse

Al Baker said the generator glitch is particularly galling given that the 787’s commercial debut was delayed for more than 3 1/2 years because of issues with new materials and production techniques, and because the model has been flying for so long.

“I don’t think there is any excuse,” said the executive, who was at London Heathrow following Qatar Air’s first flight there with another of its 787s. “There will be teething problems, yes, minor teething problems.”

Qatar Airways, the second biggest Gulf carrier, is due to get two more 787s on Dec. 19, taking the fleet to five, Al Baker said. That will increase to 10 by the end of 2013, compared with an original plan for 30 before the program delays, he said.

“Hopefully, with the ramp up of production at Boeing we will receive some more, but for that I will keep my fingers crossed,” the CEO said. “We have told Boeing that this kind of problem is unacceptable to us because we are already falling behind our expansion program.”

The performance of the aircraft delivered has been “quite adequate,” Al Baker said, and Qatar Air has seen no evidence of a separate fuel-leak problem that led the FAA to order more regular inspections.

“Boeing makes fine airplanes,” he said. “We hope we will always work with them as long as they satisfy our requirements.”

More in Herald Business Journal

Best foot forward: Ferndale company to make custom shoes easy

Long specializing in insoles, Superfeet is putting 3-D machines in stores to make customized shoes.

Does a hypersonic US reconnaissance plane already exist?

A Skunk Works executive speaks of the top secret aircraft as if it is already in operation.

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Port of Everett CEO Les Reardanz has been called up and will be spending much of the year away from his office. He is going to Afghanistan. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Port of Everett CEO reporting for duty — in Afghanistan

Les Reardanz has been called to active duty with the Navy for an eight-month deployment.

Boeing opens new $17 million training center in Auburn

Workers and dignitaries marked the grand opening of the facility Monday.

Trump’s company fights efforts to shed the president’s name

“Our homes are worth more without the Trump name.”

Airbus floats shutdown of A380 superjumbo

The aircraft is so big that some airports had to expand runways to accommodate the 550-seat plane.

Amanda Strong (left) tries on an Angel of the Winds Arena hat as she and Courtney Brown hand out gift bags after the renaming ceremony Dec. 13 in Everett. The new name replaces the Xfinity name. (Andy Bronson / Her file)
Angel of the Winds to break ground on $60M casino expansion

“We think we’re on the cusp of becoming a major resort.”

Why 7-Eleven, inventor of the Slurpee, is going organic

As sales of gas, cigarettes and soda plummet, stores to offer “better-for-you” products.

Most Read